There is an almost 31 percent decline in the revenue from those who sought to play online poker in Italy between August 2012 and August last year, according to a study released on Friday by the country’s online gaming regulator AAMS (L’Amministrazione autonoma dei monopoli di Stato).
Real cash poker games in Italy were legalized in July 2011 by Italian gambling laws. The operators were full of excitement and plans. But the numbers released last week, representing the first full year of online poker in Italy, are quite disappointing.
The Italian online poker market showed EUR 33.8 million revenue in August 2011, compared to EUR 23.4 million in August 2012, which means a worryingly serious decrease of 30.7 percent.
Ring games revenues declined a disappointing 41 percent to EUR 14.2 million. Tournament revenues were still reduced by 5.1 percent to Euro 9.1 million, which is a good result compared with the other field. However, tournament revenues witnessed a 21 percent drop during July and August, possibly resulting from the summer vacations and competition from other Italian gambling products.
Analysts blame the restricted market among others that reduces player liquidity for the bad results. They also complain about the lack of innovation and attractive prize pools in the market.
The Italian gambling regulator AAMS has already announced its plans to form a common player pool with its Spanish and French counterpart, but so far no formal agreement has been made.
Operators always name the extremely high taxation levels and the lack of co-operation from the regulating authorities as the main reasons behind their bad results.
The industry has high hopes for Italian mobile gambling market, as the Mediterranean country is regarded as one of the most gadget-crazy nations in Europe.
Poker Stars is still by far the market leader in Italy, increasing its share in ring games to 32.2 percent with a rise of over 5 percent from June. The company is also responsible for 44 percent of the tournament money.